Federal push for interoperable wireless standards?

The federal government may be ready to push standards for interoperable wireless communication, an official at the National Institute of Standards and Technology suggested at a recent conference.

The federal government may be ready to push standards for interoperable wireless communication, an official at the National Institute of Standards and Technology suggested at a recent conference, TechNewsWorld reports.

One of the key things that local, state and federal homeland security officials need to work on is ensuring that these WiFi and other communications technologies are interoperable, at all levels, said Dereck Orr, program manager, public safety communications systems, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration.

The only way that will happen is through the development of national standards that will define how the diverse components -- federal, state and local -- of the homeland security infrastructure  will interoperate, said Orr. The government has, in the past, successfully created such communications standards for other purposes, said Orr.

The Dept. of Homeland Security's Safecom project, for instant, is being upgraded to define how emergency response networks can incorporate wired and wireless connections, as well as radio communications.

The Chicago conference also emphasized the Windy City's role in the development of homeland security technology. With Chicago planning a 7,500-antenna, $18  million Wi-Fi network, and the area already home to government labs like Argonne National Laboratory, the Midwest may be poised to become Silicon Prairie, some boosters say.

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